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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

Neutralizing the Extreme Right in Mexico



David Raby is the founder and coordinator of the United Kingdom Mexico Solidarity Forum, a sister organization to the Mexico Solidarity Project.

The alarming rise of the extreme right across the world, exemplified in Latin America by the shock victory of Javier Milei in Argentina, has aroused both anger and despair among progressive observers. We are naturally concerned that this example may inspire similar right-wing advances elsewhere.


Such concern is understandable, but its important to realize that not all countries are vulnerable to right-wing extremism. Mexico under AMLO (President López Obrador) is a model of how to neutralize the extreme right.


Mexico under AMLO has a stable economy with low inflation. Effective welfare programs include a public Welfare Bank with 2,700 branches to deliver all benefits directly to citizens and provide access to financial services without the speculative practices of private banks. Large-scale public investment in infrastructure (such as the Tren Maya, a new Mexico City airport, and the biggest solar complex in Latin America), combined with openness to foreign investment, has caused significant appreciation of the peso against the dollar. This is the polar opposite of Argentinas profound stagflation crisisprepared years ago by the policies of Mauricio Macri (businessman and former President of Argentina) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their policies left Argentina open to the demagogy of free-market fundamentalism.


AMLO has achieved energy sovereignty with public ownership or control of oil, gas and electricity generation, and lithium. These policies guarantee low energy prices, employment, and economic benefits along with a strategy for energy transition (and remarkably, AMLO has persuaded the US to accept Mexican energy sovereignty).


This economic and financial tour-de-force has been possible because of a determined and carefully planned strategy of effective and comprehensive tax collection (without raising tax rates), a serious anti-corruption campaign, and the principle of civic austerity” (austeridad republicana), meaning austerity for public officials and politicians, not working people. Right-wing invective against leftist ministers and public servants as a privileged caste” cuts no ice when they live modestly and work tirelessly six or seven days a week.


When AMLO took office, he slashed his own presidential salary by over half, sold the luxury official airliner and other luxury vehicles. He flies economy class on ordinary commercial airlines and stays in modest hotels and eats in regular popular restaurants.


The final key factor allowing AMLO to  discredit far-right propaganda is his unceasing communication with the people. At first many observers laughed at his daily morning press conferences, two hours or more a day, Monday to Friday every week, but they finally realized how effective his constant exercise of the right of reply has been. Every weekend he travels around the country, inaugurating public works and engaging in dialogue with local people. The result is that only committed conservatives believe the opposition propaganda. Moreover, since AMLO will not seek re-election, accusations of authoritarianism fall flat.


It’s always possible that sectors of the Mexican right, and certain sectors in the US, may question the legitimacy of the elections, and it’s crucial to build international solidarity with Mexico and its Transformation. But if the victory of Morena candidate Claudia Sheinbaum is as decisive as the polls indicate, hostile forces are more likely to bide their time and work on destabilization at a later date.